Update on the latest in business:

FINANCIAL MARKETS

Asian shares advance on optimism over vaccines, stimulus

UNDATED (AP) — Shares are mostly higher in Asia today, helped by progress toward rolling out coronavirus vaccines and talk of reaching a compromise on new help for the U.S. economy.

Tokyo’s Nikkei 225 inched up less than 0.1% to its highest close in more than 29 years. Shares also rose in Hong Kong, Seoul and Sydney but fell in Shanghai.

On Wall Street Wednesday, stocks shook off early losses and managed to log gains despite weakness in technology companies’ shares. The S&P 500 edged up 0.2% after trading lower for much of the day. The Nasdaq fell slightly and the Dow Jones Industrial Average ticked up 0.2%. Treasury yields rose, while crude oil prices fell back.

TRUMP-INAUGURATION

Ivanka Trump deposed as part of inauguration fund lawsuit

WASHINGTON (AP) — A new court filing reveals that Ivanka Trump was deposed by attorneys alleging that President Donald Trump’s 2017 inauguration committee misused donor funds.

The document, first reported by CNN Wednesday, notes that Ivanka Trump, the president’s oldest daughter and a senior White House adviser, was interviewed Tuesday by attorneys from the Washington, D.C., attorney general’s office.

The attorney general’s office has filed a lawsuit alleging waste of the nonprofit’s funds, accusing the committee of making more than $1 million in improper payments to the president’s Washington, D.C., hotel during the week of the inauguration in 2017.

US-CHINA-FORCED LABOR

US to block goods from Chinese company over rights abuses

WASHINGTON (AP) — The U.S. will block imports from a major Chinese producer of cotton goods for its suspected use of workers detained as part of a crackdown on ethnic minorities in China’s northwest.

The Xinjiang Production and Construction Corps was already on a U.S. Treasury sanctions list that barred American companies from doing business with the company. A measure announced Wednesday by Customs and Border Protection detains any shipments at U.S. ports.

It is the sixth time in recent months that the U.S. has issued such an order on companies operating in the region of China where authorities have detained more than 1 million Uighurs and other minorities.

CHINA-TESTING KITS

China testing blunders stemmed from secret deals with firms

WUHAN, China (AP) — An Associated Press investigation has found that secrecy and cronyism crippled China’s testing capacity in the early days of the outbreak.

The China CDC selected three companies with close ties to CDC officials to make the first coronavirus test kits – even as they withheld critical information about the virus from other scientists. As a result, other laboratories couldn’t test for the pathogen, allowing it to spread undetected through Wuhan for weeks.

After the city was locked down, medical staff grappled with critical shortages of test kits, and many were faulty, hampering patient access to care.

HONG KONG-JIMMY LAI

Hong Kong media tycoon Jimmy Lai denied bail on fraud charge

HONG KONG (AP) — Outspoken Hong Kong pro-democracy advocate and media tycoon Jimmy Lai has been refused bail on a fraud charge amid a growing crackdown on dissent in the semi-autonomous city.

Jimmy Lai of Next Digital, which publishes the Apple Daily newspaper, was among 10 people arrested Aug. 10 on what police said was suspicion of violating a national security law and collusion with a foreign country. The 73-year-old Lai was later released on bail but police raided his company’s offices in October and took away documents.

On Wednesday, Lai and two Next Digital executives were charged with fraud over accusations that they violated lease terms for Next Digital office space. Lai appeared in court today and was denied bail.

HP HQ TO MOVE

Hewlett Packard Enterprise to move headquarters to Texas

SPRING, Texas (AP) — Tech giant Hewlett Packard Enterprise said it is moving its global headquarters to the Houston area from California. Texas Gov. Greg Abbott’s office announced Tuesday that the relocation will increase the company’s presence in the area, which is already home to more than 2,600 employees.

The company is building a 440,000-square-foot campus in two five-story buildings in the city of Spring, which is slated for completion in 2022.

The Fortune 500 company says that relocation is voluntary and that no layoffs are associated with the move. Houston is already home to about 2,600 of the company’s employees.

US-NIELSONS-The Undoing

Who did it? TV viewers intrigued by HBO’s ‘The Undoing’

NEW YORK (AP) — HBO’s ‘The Undoing’ proved that it’s still possible for a word-of-mouth hit to emerge in today’s fragmented world of television and streaming.

The Nielsen company says some 3 million people watched Sunday to learn the mystery’s resolution in the limited series starring Hugh Grant and Nicole Kidman. That number is certain to rise exponentially in the coming weeks.

HBO says it was the first time in the network’s history that every episode of a series had more viewers than the previous week’s. It was also the most talked-about new scripted series on social media this year, proving it brought in the curious.

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